Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 52

I slapped on another dollop of polish and started to rub ‘Wax goes on, wax goes off’, ‘Wax goes on, wax goes off’. I was back at my brothers’ house and the good news was that the decorating was finished. Unfortunately there were a number of other ‘tasks’ requiring completion for the wedding the following weekend. One such task was to polish the wedding vehicle.

Now your probably thinking ‘Dry yer eyes Ham how hard can it be to polish a car’ Well if the vehicle in question is a bog standard Mercedes or a nice six series Beemer then no probs. IF however the vehicle of choice is a unique creation then it can get a bit tricky. My older brother Neil has never been one for ‘normal’ cars, oh no, that would be far too dull. There’s nothing duller than a car that starts first time, what could be less imaginative than a vehicle that gets you from A to B with no fuss, how monotonous driving something that actually stops when you depress the middle fecking pedal!

Teenage memories came flooding back ‘Where’s your sense of adventure’ he would cry as I staggered out of yet another homemade death trap. My heart beating like a hammer after a dandy hurl down the road. I’d weave unsteadily away before slumping happily on to my face. There were so many black marks on my few remaining teeth that my dentist was convinced I had a tarmac fetish. Invariably my last conscious recollection would be the sight of my lunch spattered down the side of the vehicle and the feeling of rapidly cooling excrement filling my socks. Oh the fun indeed!

I shuddered at the memory and took another look at the latest creation from Messieurs Frank’n’Stein ‘Oh sweet Jesus’ I muttered. Imagine if you will an upturned aluminium dingy. Then picture some deluded maniac cutting out a bathtub sized hole in the top, throwing in a bench seat, gluing a couple of semi-circular aero windows at the front. Then slapping on three wheels, two at the front one at the back. That’s three mind you. Heaven forbid you would go with the more traditional, and stable, configuration of four wheels. Oh no ‘three’s a lucky number’ he would exclaim as we all edged away quietly.

But credit where credit’s due. I said he’d never finish it and I was sure it wouldn’t have a ghost of a chance of getting an MOT. But I had to eat my words. It just shows you what a lot of hard work, dedication, blood, sweat, tears and a large brown envelope stuffed with used unmarked twenties can achieve.

I stared at the acres of untouched metal and sighed. It had taken an hour to polish a piece the size of an envelope. This task was turning into another Forth Bridge. ‘At least the vomit will wipe off easily’ I grumbled. The drilled aluminium floor also seemed to be an innovation born out of our little runs in the country (so much easier to sluice out) Quite why the bride had chosen this aluminium coffin to be her chariot on the happiest day of her life was beyond me. My advice about wearing incontinence knickers had not only fallen on deaf ears but had earned me a thick one. I don’t know if there is such a term as ‘thick bollock’ but I can assure you that condition also exists (brides can be so touchy).

About an hour later my brother meandered out with a cup of tea. He strolled round the car with a critical air. Bear in mind I’d been polishing for four hours solid. He started making odd sucking noises and pulling grimaced expressions as he examined the vehicle. I could feel my blood pressure rising. He started to open his mouth and I decided to get my retaliation in first ‘I know what your going to say so why don’t you just FUUUUUCK OOOOOOFF!”, ‘what-‘, ‘FOUR HOURS four bastaaaarding hours I’ve been polishing this and you’ve got the cheek to-‘, ‘it’s great’, ‘complai .. what?’, ‘it’s great, a good job’ somewhat taken back at the compliment I lost the flow ‘Eeer well thanks’, ‘So why the face pulling and sucking of teeth?’, ‘I was actually wondering if a bride in full wedding dress and a driver will fit?

He had a point. It was ostensibly a glorified single seater. Two people could fit in at a push. But could a bride kitted out in full wedding dress and all the trimmings get in and out of the car without showing her incontinence pants? It was a question that needed to be answered.

Right let’s think this through’, ‘ok’, ‘first things first can we fit in’ I gave him a rather worried look ‘but surely we are not getting married?’ He sighed ‘Yes very observant but we are both much bigger than the bride or the brides father’, ‘Ooooh right so that’s why no one fancies us then?’ He held his face in his hands and mumbled through his fingers ‘Just get in the fecking car!

It was a tight squeeze but we got in with a few centimetres to spare on each side ‘Ok so they should manage to fit in but what about the dress?’ he was deep in thought looking from side to side as he tapped his lips with his middle finger ‘I’m not with you?’, ‘Well it’s one thing to get in with trousers on but how will it be with a dress on?’, ‘Aye that’s a good point bruv-‘ I stopped mid sentence as an evil smile spread across my brothers face ‘what?’ …..

‘It’ll never fit’ I complained. ‘Just slip it over your shoulders it doesn’t have to be all the way on’, ‘For pities sake I’m twice the size of the bride!’, ‘She’ll kill me if she finds out’, ‘Get a shift on she’s not going to be back for hours and we just need a rough idea’. Grumbling I donned the wedding dress. I say donned but it barely came down to my knees and I didn’t dare put my arms through the sleeves. I looked like a shuttlecock. My baldy heid sticking out the top of the ivory dress, my arms pinned to my sides.

‘Right lets see what it’s like in the car’ my brother pushed me out to the garden. The gravel crunched under my feet as I trudged towards the speedster. I was half way there when I heard Shirley’s voice from the garage ‘alright boys how’s the polishing goi-‘ I didn’t hear the rest of the sentence as I rushed back towards the house. Unfortunately it’s quite hard to run without your arms. It’s also quite hard to balance.

Apparently I nearly made it. Sadly my size elevens caught the edge of a paving stone and I plummeted to earth digging a sizeable muddy furrow with the top of head. Thankfully my clothes were protected from damage by the wedding dress….

What’s worse than a ‘thick bollock’? ……….. Two


Sunday, July 24, 2005


Hamish McShanks and the Half-Plate of Mince

Hello valued customers

I'm afraid this weeks diary will be delayed by 24hrs as I have been completely engrossed in the latest Harry Potter book. It was soooooooooo exciting ah just couldnae put it down.

I've finished it now and I certainly wouldnt want to spoil any other Potter fans enjoyment by letting any of the plot slip ......

So in summary; Harry slays the Dark Lord. Hermione, Ron and Harry get a bit drunk while celebrating with butterbeer. Ron goes for a chunder in the lake leaving Harry and Hermione drinking mead. One thing leads to another and the two H's end up tubbing in Hagrids cottage. Ron stumbles in just as Harry is zipping up and fillets him in a lovers rage.

Meanwhile Hagrid is arrested by the Ministry of Magic for showing too much 'care' for the magical creatures (if you get my drift)

I know, I know, I never saw any of that coming!

Ha ha well that's NOT what happens, I fibbed (yes really)

It was actually quite good - well good enough that I couldnt put it down. So only another two years to wait before the final book ...... hurray ..... I might have written my diary by then!


Monday, July 18, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 51

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary – w/e 17th July 2005

‘Right were ready let’s hit the road’ I started walking towards the car but after a few steps I couldn’t help notice I seemed to be alone. I turned to face my passenger who was steadfastly refusing to budge ‘I’m not getting in that’, ‘what?’, ‘I’m not getting in that! People might see me’, ‘bu-‘, ‘you’ll have to disguise it’, ‘How? How the bloody hell am I supposed to disguise a fecking car?’ There was no reply, she had already stomped back into the house.

At this point I need to fill you in on a couple of details. A) I drive a Citroen Berlingo B) My friend Tansy thinks it looks like a courtesy vehicle for a special needs school. Up until now she had been content to malign it from afar. Now her chickens were well and truly coming home to roost. We had a wedding to attend and her car was out of action. We needed to take my ‘sunshine coach’ as she had christened it. Whilst I’ll admit it does have a passing resemblance to a mini bus or an ice cream van I like to think of it as an extremely spacious and reliable vehicle ….. and it was cheap …. ok ok so it looks like its missing half a dozen window lickers! Get off my back.

I was grumbling to myself when I heard the front door open and Tansy stepped out. She’d donned a pair of dark sunglasses and wrapped a silk scarf up around her head and over her face. ‘Bloody hell it’s Zsa Zsa Gabor’ I mumbled under my breath ‘What’s that?’, ‘Oh I was just saying let me get the door’ I replied as I theatrically opened the passenger door for her. Even with the sunglasses I was visibly wilting under her fearsome glare ‘I’ll eer uum eeeh start the car then’.

Once we had passed through the town and into open countryside she felt confident enough to remove the scarf but the sunglasses remained as did the icy atmosphere. My attempts to lighten the mood were met with a short shrift ‘So nice day for a wedding then’ stony silence ‘A castle that’s a nice place to marry isn’t it’ Glaciers were forming in the car but I foolishly pressed on ‘Do you think the weather will hold?’, ‘Ham’, ‘Yes’, ‘See this hatpin’ I gulped ‘Uuum yes’, ‘Good’

The remainder of the journey passed in an awkward silence. As instructed I parked behind a hedgerow a discreet distance from the castle, covered the car with branches and leaves and we walked the rest of the way.

The wedding guests were all milling around outside as we enjoyed a champagne reception. I say we when of course I mean Tansy enjoyed a champagne reception, I enjoyed a non alcoholic Elderflower cordial reception. Which much to my surprise was actually enjoyable. There was a light refreshing breeze as we basked in the warm summer sun. The good weather (or possibly the champagne) seemed to have rubbed off on Tans and she was in much better fettle only slapping me with an open hand when I tried to talk. A big improvement on the knuckleduster I can assure you.

After a few more rounds of Elderflower I was in need of a ‘comfort break’ and headed inside the castle. It was quite gloomy as my eyes adjusted from the bright sunlight outdoors. I scanned the room for any signs indicating where the little knights room might be but all I could see was a large mahogany desk in front of a substantial straight backed chair. A chair complete with an ancient yellow manikin dressed in period attire resting in a recumbant position, as if asleep.

I very nearly had my ‘break’ in the reception room when the manikin reached out and touched me ‘Can I help you dear?’, ‘fffffkin’ell’, ‘Are you looking for the tearoom?’, ‘Eeer no I was looking for the toilet actually’ I replied whilst sheepishly climbing off a suit of armour. She pointed me in the right direction and I thanked her profusely before heading off on the proffered route.

My navigation isn’t the best and I’m afraid I got a bit lost ‘Oh feck was it left after the great hall or after the long room?’ My bladder was sending shooting pains up to my abdomen indicating that I had little time left with which to choose ‘Oh feck’. There were two doors at the end of the corridor and I dived into the one on the left. For once my luck was actually in. It wasn’t the toilet I was looking for but it was a toilet. Ok so it was four hundred years old and a smidgen on the basic side but beggars’ cant be choosers.

I whipped of the wonderfully embossed history card on top and proceeded to deposit a couple of pints of elderflower cordial into the abyss ‘Ooooh thank god’. I took the opportunity to read all about sixteenth century sanitation and how basically everything that fell down this hole was deposited outside the castle. Apparently some of the more houseproud barons would get a poor person to shovel the solids elsewhere when the wiff got too much. The impoverished minion delighted to get such good work would of course be well made up ‘Gawd bless ya sir’, ‘I dreams of shovelling shit’, ‘I’m not fit to sniff you’re arse sir’ although he wasn’t going to have much choice as it happened.

After cursing the lack of hand washing facilities I carefully replaced the information card and the ‘DO NOT USE’ notice. Thankfully the castle was fairly empty and it was a moments work to slip out un-noticed. My return journey was a good deal quicker as I followed a convenient multi-coloured thread back downstairs. ‘That’s clever’ I thought wondering why I hadn’t seen it on my ascent.

Only when I reached the end of the thread did the penny drop. It was snagged on a vaguely familiar suit of armour in the main lobby ‘Oh no’ my head fell into my hands. When I eventually dared to peer through my fingers I could see I was now standing in a mini kilt. Mercifully my sporran was at the right height to cover my crown jewels but there was no point in denying it I was wearing a tartan pelmet. Things were not looking good, literally and metaphorically. ‘Ok Ham don’t panic’ I quickly ran over my options …….. ‘Ok Ham now you can panic’.

‘No no no no no she’s gonna kill me’ I wailed. Tansy had been looking forward to this wedding for months, she still hadn’t let me forget a works xmas ceileidh dinner ten years earlier where I had made a tactical error in getting totally rubbered at the bar rather than offering to dance. How was I going to break it to her that we had to leave!

As it happened I didn’t have to. Apparently the bride had been posing for some photographs on the grass outside the castle when she was drenched in piss!

Every cloud has an amber lining …..


Monday, July 11, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 50

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 10th July 2005

Whum whum whum whum ‘mmm whassat’ whum whum whum whum ‘msgfffmm’ I rolled over and fumbled for my alarm clock somewhere on the bedside cabinet. The grainy red digits informed me it was 4:02am. That’s A fecking M!. ‘What the fu-‘ WHUM WHUM. I struggled out of bed and peered out the window. Two helicopters were circling overhead. They were flying in a large arc around Bannockburn town centre; a mere stones throw away (quite literally as it turned out). ‘Bloody swampys’ I grumbled before closing the window and falling back into bed.

The leaders of the eight richest nations on the planet were having there annual jolly at the Gleneagles Hotel in bonny Scotland. This venue had been carefully chosen because it’s in the arse end of nowhere and has absolutely no transport infrastructure. Thereby making it difficult for protestors to descend and disturb the fatboys of the world as they divvy up the worlds ‘pie’ amongst themselves. The fact that it’s a five star hotel with a championship quality golf course and spa facilities of world renown is neither here nor there…..

Anyway as a result several thousand protestors had set up home in the next nearest conurbation (Stirling) Our wonderful friendly council had even provided a campsite for them on the outskirts of town next to the ‘retail’ park. The councils reasoning presumably being ‘if were nice to them they’ll be nice to us’. Sadly they overlooked the minor flaw that if you lodge two thousand anti-capitalist and anarchist protestors next to a collection of globally branded companies and fast food outlets your asking for trouble.

It’s like going ‘Hmmm wasps like sugar don’t they’, ‘so if we give the wasps some sugar they’ll leave us alone’ then covering your todger with raspberry jam and shoving it into a wasps nest. You can’t really complain when you get stung.

The helicopters overhead were ‘monitoring’ our swampy friends as they rampaged through Stirling and Bannockburn. We found out later that they had trashed the local Burger King and Pizza Hut restaurants. Which on one hand was an act of mindless violence, which should be condemned in the strongest possible terms but on the other hand did improve the standard of local cuisine quite considerably.

There was a slightly less violent, but equally unpleasant, protest the previous day. One of the ‘Eco-Village’ residents (as the campsite had been christened) A dreadlocked and completely unwashed young man was spotted ranting and gesticulating outside a McDonalds restaurant in the high street. He finished his tirade by theatrically gobbing onto the front window. How delightful, and clearly an action which will bring the corporation to their knees. It’s only a matter of time before they capitulate, remove themselves from the stock exchange, and turn their company into a ‘community collective’ Well done that man …..

Now don’t get me wrong I’m all for the right to protest, I really am. I would describe myself as ‘liberal’ in outlook. But when I am woken from my slumber at four in the fecking morning I have to concede that my feelings veer somewhat right of centre.

These feelings strengthened as I heard sirens wailing and another helicopter joined the cacophony of sound that was filling the air ‘For fuc-‘ I hugged two pillows against my ears and pulled the duvet over my head. It was no use, I had no chance of getting back to sleep. I was getting tetchy.

‘Right ye feckers, ye want a rammy, I’ll gie ye a rammy’ I jumped out of bed and pulled on my jeans ‘four in the bleeding morning’. My grousing continued unabated as I set up the ladder and headed into the loft. Ten minutes of rummaging and I located what I was looking for….

‘Hmmm’ my old pistol-crossbow didn’t look quite as fearsome as I had remembered it (everything is bigger when your eight years old). I blew the dust of it and held it up to my eye ‘it’s just like riding a bike, you never forget’ I grinned. Conveniently blocking out the fact that it had taken me several years to learn to ride a bike. You would have though the humiliation of having stabilisers till I was thirteen would have stayed with me but the mind plays tricks on you as you get older.

Thrilled at locating my weapon and undeterred by the fact there was a near thirty year gap since it had last been used I clambered down the ladder. I suppose if I was willing to block out the fact that as a kid I was such a poor shot I couldn’t hit a coos arse with a banjo then worrying about it’s serviceability after three decades rusting in the loft was not an issue.

I headed for the kitchen, dived under the sink and located the boot polish. After blackening up I examined the crossbow bolts. My sleep deprived brain was conjuring up images of Amazonian Indians tipping their arrows with poison and I started to grin evilly. Even in my current delusional state I surmised that actually killing protesters was likely to get me fifteen to twenty without parole so I elected to create ‘tranquilliser’ darts instead.

A quick inventory of the medicine cabinet failed to reveal any convenient vials of barbiturates or phenothianzines ‘Hmmm time to improvise’. It took ten minutes to prepare my solution of night nurse, benylin ‘chesty’ and antihistamine. I had to simmer it down until it was viscous enough to coat the bolts ‘Night night boys’ I giggled as I slipped half a dozen ‘darts’ into my belt.

I was just about to slip out the door when I thought it might be prudent to test fire my weapon. No point in finding out it’s faulty in the heat of battle. I snuck out into the back garden and kneeled behind the wheelie bin. The shed door was in my sights as I pulled back the bowstring. The years hadn’t been kind and it was as tight as piano wire ‘Jesuuuus’ I grunted before finally cocking the weapon. There were strange whining noises emanating from the bow as I loaded a bolt ‘Ok lets see how-‘ TWANG! Bing cachiiing thuuuud ‘oommppff

When I came round I was face down in a plant pot, a crossbow bolt embedded in my left buttock. You try explaining that in A& E. The doctor said the wound would be fine but not to drive or operate any heavy machinery for a couple of days.


Thursday, July 07, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 49

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 3rd July 2005

A light dew clings to each blade of grass as the sun climbs over the horizon shedding golden rays of light on pristine white lines, the air is thick with the scent of freshly mown grass and a light summer breeze tickles my face. It’s a special feeling; it’s a perfect moment and a time for some inspiring words for the ‘troops’.

I have one final shake, zip up then turn on my heels, rugby ball tucked under my arm. ‘Right sorry about that folks, prostate playing up again’ a few shaking heads and rolling of eyes suggest that was rather more information than was required but I pushed on regardless. ‘Right ladies and gentleman’ I pause and scan my audience ‘this is your moment, this is what all the training has been for, this (dramatic pause) is your field of dreams, this is your Trafalgar, this is your-‘ The waving hand at the back stopped me in midflow

‘Yes?’, ‘I don’t want to be picky but surely Trafalgar was a Sea battle’ I rolled my eyes in despair ‘look that’s not-‘, ‘I mean I cant swim, will that be a problem?’, ‘Your missing the poi-‘, ‘Oh I cant swim either, nobody mentioned swimming’, ‘I thought we were playing touch’ I was struggling to get a word in edgeways ‘Were swimming? I didn’t pack my cosie’. Chattering swept through the team as players rummaged in their kitbags for swimwear and I have to admit I lost the rag ….

‘We are not FUUUUUUUCKKINGSWIMMING!!!!’ I bellowed. I’m not sure if it was the volume of my response, the dangerously crimson colour my baldy heid turned or the size of the vein pulsing on my temple but I seemed to regain their attention. In fact you could have heard a pin drop. The sudden unexpected silence caught me slightly off guard ‘Right eeer just … uuum enjoy yourselves’ I trailed off as they stared at me open mouthed. The angry red colour of my napper now due to the fearsome blush that had swept up from my boots.

Not one of my more stirring speeches you’ll agree. It certainly wasn’t up with the Gettysburg Address or the likes of Churchill, well unless were talking about the nodding dog from the TV adverts. Maybe if I’d finished with ‘Oooooh yes’ that would have put the tin hat on an otherwise forgetful oration.

Having failed to motivate with rhetoric I decided that I would have to lead by example (yes things were that desperate). Our first match was against the Fire Brigade. They had fielded a pretty strong team last year but I think this year they were pursuing a youth policy as two of their players were under 12 years (and 5 feet). However you can only play who’s put in front on you. And in the spirit of ‘Sir Clive’ I have no regrets about the tactics I chose.

Ok so the handoff in the face was probably uncalled for and most likely on the edge of legality. But sledging is all part of the game so the sooner they get used to it the better. I like to think I was doing the wee lad a favour as I trampled over him for my fifth try ‘Dry yer eyes ye wee lassy, ye want yer mammy tae wipe yer Aaaarse!’ is all character building stuff.

Strangely enough trampling small children underfoot did little to inspire my squad..

Our second match was against somewhat sterner opposition. This team included a former rugby international in one David John McIvor 6 times capped flanker for Scotland and a man who never took a backward step on the rugby park.

We lined up ready for the off. He still had his trademark white hair, which was more than I could boast with my chrome dome. We stood a few feet apart, eyeballing each other. I cracked my knuckles, time for the sledging. I fixed him with my fiercest glare (or constipated look depending on your point of view) and uttered ‘Pussy’. He didn’t bat an eyelid.

Of course when I say ‘uttered’ I naturally mean ‘whispered’. Although if we are being brutally honest whispered would be a generous description for silently mouthing the word pussy. Ok ok ok so we all know that I only thought about calling him a pussy … ok ok ok so I didn’t even think it. I was too busy concentrating on not bubbling and keeping my underwear stain free.

I don’t believe in fate or Karma. However I think that some form of retribution was being dished out for my earlier performance against the fire brigade. This was brought sharply into focus as I lay on the ground desperately fumbling for my recently departed teeth. A silver topped streak shooting past for the umpteenth time yelling ‘Dry yer eyes ye wee lassy, ye want yer maaaaaaammy tae wipe yer Aaaaaaarse!’

What goes around comes around as they say ….

After being stretchered off by my team-mates there was a bloodless coup and I was ousted as captain. ‘Yoooo baaaastards’ I screamed ‘you’ll never replace me, I’m indispensable! INDESPENSIBLE DO YOU HEAR!!!’ I bellowed. Unabashed the traitors huddled together in a circle and after a brief debate a suitable replacement was elected. You can imagine my chagrin as they emptied out a nearby rubbish bin and it was anointed as my successor. ‘The King is dead long live the bin’ they screamed as they ran on to the pitch for the final game patting it on the side and wishing it luck.

‘B*stards’ I mumbled through my broken teeth ‘ye never wished me luck ye feckers’.

It’s bad enough being ejected in favour of a waste receptacle but when the fecking thing plays a blinder and gets man of the match that just sticks in yer craw. I was particularly sullen as they shouldered the bin off chanting ‘Go Bin Go Bin Go Bin’ showering it with champagne and beer. Some of the girls were giving it particularly close attention stroking its lid and whispering sweet nothings into the liner ‘Oh for pities sake’ I grumbled

It was even worse when we retired to the bar; the fecking thing was surrounded by admirers and had a dolly bird on each side. A few of the younger players were even asking it for autographs. I drained my half of top deck shandy and staggered towards the door.

I think I’ll take up netball


Sunday, July 03, 2005


Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 48

Hamish McShanks Secret Diary – w/e 26th June 05

Ding Ding Ding, Ding Ding Ding ‘About fecking time’ I mumbled before laying down my paint pot and stretching my aching back. Eight hours of non-stop decorating had taken its toll and I hobbled through to the kitchen. I nodded to my twin brother as we picked up our mess tins; he was so tired he barely raised an eyebrow in acknowledgement.

We shuffled along to the servery where the guard dished out our daily rations. Our plates loaded with the ‘DPish of the day’ we headed out to our usual seat in the exercise yard. I struggled to get comfortable on the sharp gravel, the corrugated iron sheet barely shading us from the heat of the day. I half-heartedly pushed the meagre offerings around the plate before taking a bite. ‘Whatchyoogot’ I mumbled through a mouthful of brilliant white gloss, ‘Mmm..looks like woodchip wallpaper with a warm terracotta vinyl silk sauce’ he replied ‘lucky bastard’ I grumbled whilst scraping a particularly stubborn fragment of paint from my front teeth.

I decided to leave the rest of my meal; there is just no appetising way to look at wallpaper paste. ‘I don’t know how much more of this I can take’ I murmured as the camp commandant strolled into the yard ‘Be strong Ham’ my brother replied, ‘he’ll get his’ he whispered nodding at our captor ‘what go’s around comes around-‘ He finished abruptly as ‘Otto’ strolled up to us, his German Shepherd at his heel ‘Ah Gentlemen I trust dinner was to your satisfaction?’ He turned on his heels laughing loudly. We glanced at each other briefly before giving him the synchronised finger.

The mess bell rang again indicating our three minute lunch break was over and it was time to get back to the decorating ‘This is the last time I offer to help’ I grumbled heaving myself to my feet ‘Aye yer no wrong bruv’ mumbled my twin as we watched Ottos highly trained guard dog run into a stout fence whilst chasing it’s own tail.

The next job on the list was to paint the ornate coving in the front room. The house we were decorating is over a hundred years old. As was the style of the day it has very high ceilings with intricate cornicing. Which, while delightful to the eye, are a complete bugger to paint. We’d been discussing how best to paint these when we had a stroke of genius. I say ‘we’ when of course I mean our older brother (a.k.a. ‘Otto’) had a stroke of genius, which was a shame because me and my twin bruv were just hoping for the stroke.

When I heard his suggestion I though he had indeed had a stroke and was busy checking the range of movement in his arms and for signs of dribbling or slurred speech. ‘Spray Paint’ I repeated incredulously ‘Aye’, ‘but spray paint will go everywhere’ I protested ‘Not if we do it at low enough pressure’. I remained sceptical but decided to button my lip as rations were grim enough already.

We assembled the equipment and Otto scaled the scaffolding whilst I fed the air hose behind him. Fraz fired up the compressor and we watched events unfold. Tssstt tsssst tss tss tssssssst tsssst ‘can ye turn up the pressure a wee bit’ he shouted down over the din of the compressor, ‘aye nae bother’ shouted Fraz as he flashed an evil grin in my direction and gave the valve a sharp twist. Tssst tss tsss TSSSSSSSSST ‘Fuuuuckinheeeeell! Turn it off turnitoff TURNITOFF!’

Fraz obliged and the compressor rattled to a stop as we heard Otto clambering down the scaffolding. His face would have probably been scarlet with rage if it hadn’t been brilliant white along with the rest of him ‘Bit much was it Otto?’ enquired my brother innocently. I was less diplomatic which is why I think I incurred his wrath ‘Oh look it’s Frosty the snowmanooomppfff’. I missed the rest of the lecture on safe compressor operations on account of being unconscious.

When I came round Otto was once again atop the scaffolding and by the sounds of the cursing the spray gun option was not working as well as envisaged. ‘Right I need the flexible nozzle’, I looked blankly at him ‘it’s in the box’, ‘uuuh’, ‘the red box with the picture of a spray gun on it you fecking simpleton’, ‘alright alright no need to be tetchy just cos ye look like wacko jacko’ I rummaged around the room until I found the box. ‘Which one is it?’, ‘The flexible one’. The nozzle I held in my hand didn’t look very flexible ‘are ye sure it’s flexible’, ‘YES!’ he bellowed ‘now gimmie the fecking thing

I handed the nozzle to Fraz as I read the instructions on the side of the box ‘whadya think bruv is this flexible’ He took the nozzle and started gently manipulating it ‘Well it’s-‘ I didn’t catch the meat of his reply as I was struggling with some of the larger words on the side of the box. Anything longer than four letters and my brow tends to furrow up and my brain hurts. I gave up just as Fraz was finishing ‘-flexible

Have you got that damm nozzle?’, ‘Aye’, ‘good I need to direct the paint upwards’ This seemed like a good opportunity to regain some brownie points after my frosty the snowman faux pas. I started to put a bend in the nozzle, surmising that a forty-five degree angle would be sufficient for his purposes. It was quite stiff, which with hindsight should have given me a fair indication of its malleability. ‘Where the hell is that nozzle

‘It’s just com-‘ SNAP! My heart sank and with growing numbness I looked down at the object in my hands, or should I say objects on account of there being more than one piece now. ‘Oh fu-‘ Fraz looked at me like I was a turd in a toast rack ‘What have you done?’, ‘you said it was flexible, you said it was flexible’ I whined. ‘I said it wasn’t flexible ye fecking retard’, ‘you said it-‘, ‘is there a problem?’, ‘Aye the boy blunder here has broken yer nozzle!’, ‘WHA-‘ I gave him a vicious glare ‘Yoooo ffnn baaaastard you said it wid bend’, ‘Ah didnay, I said it wudnay bend it’s nae my fault that yev mair toes that brain cellsoommmpfff

I’d decided that a blow to the throat would carry the argument ‘get some change oot of that ye bawbaaaarrghhhh’ unfortunately I hadn’t foreseen my victim keeling forwards and head butting me in the groin. Or in fact my subsequent tumble into the scaffolding.

In the end I do feel vindicated, I did say the spray gun wouldn’t work. Ok I didn’t say it wouldn’t work because I’m a clumsy oaf and I’d break the nozzle, knock my brother off the scaffolding on to the compressor and into A&E. But hey, did it work?


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